By Ryan Richardson
Globe Staff Writer
NEOSHO, Mo. —
Neosho kicked off the holiday season Saturday with its 11th annual Dickens Christmas Faire.
The Neosho Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual event, which brings in regional craft and food vendors to spice up holiday traditions such as “Breakfast with Santa” and the Neosho Christmas parade. Shana Griffin, Neosho Chamber of Commerce executive director, said that the chamber members want the event to harken back to earlier days to experience an “old-fashioned Christmas.”
“We want to be unique in offering a day that people can step back in time for a day,” Griffin said. “The chamber wants this event to be a positive mark for Neosho and to be fun for our residents while celebrating the holiday season.”
Most of the day’s events were free because of sponsorships that the chamber members secured.
“Most of the expenses for the weekend are covered through sponsors, so we try to make everything as free as possible,” Griffin said. “This is a chamber event, but this isn’t a moneymaker and that isn’t our goal. This is for the city.”
Patrons lined up at The Civic to get a peek at holiday crafts and food from area vendors Saturday afternoon. Neosho resident Roy Lindsey and his wife Marianne were among the many merchants on hand, providing a taste of authentic German pastries and coffee. The couple operate Roy and Marianne’s Designs and Desserts in Neosho.
“We had so much fun last year at our booth and we wanted to come back out and get face to face with the community,” Roy Lindsey said. “This is a great opportunity for people in town to find homemade gifts for the holidays, and it’s a great way to keep our name out there.”
Members of the Neosho High School marching band and their families took the opportunity to raise funds for the group’s trip to Orlando, Fla., scheduled for May 24. Bobbi Pennington worked at a booth Saturday to help raise money for her daughter who is making the trip.
“People recognized what we were doing today, and we sold tickets for the concert pretty well,” Pennington said. “The community was behind the fair today, and it really helped us get closer to getting the money for the trip.”
For some, the Dickens Faire is a chance to spend time with their family in a different way. Vicki Harris, Neosho, brought her grandchildren late in the day to experience the parade after taking in the craft show at The Civic.
“Its just refreshing to have this in a small town,” Harris said. “I’ve come every year, and it really does have something for everyone. That’s what makes it work.”
The Crowder College Community Chorus will perform “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” at 7 p.m. today at United Methodist Church in Neosho. The service, traditionally sung on the first Sunday of Advent, consists of readings from the Bible interspersed with traditional Christmas carols, congregation hymns and special music.